"Today we are thrilled to announce significant initiatives that will help us achieve our zero net emissions and zero waste to landfill goals, and provide a transparent look at our progress through our first EpicPromise Progress Report," said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.
The company's multimillion-dollar wind energy virtual power purchase agreement enables the development of the Plum Creek Wind Project. The 230 MW Plum Creek project is located in Wayne County, Nebraska, and is expected to come online in 2020. It is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power up to 100,000 U.S. homes each year.
Under the 12-year agreement, Vail Resorts is purchasing 310,000 MWh annually – anticipated to be enough wind energy to reduce the emissions associated with the company’s estimated FY 2019 North American electricity use by 100 percent, which includes the recent acquisitions of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Stevens Pass Resort, Okemo Mountain Resort, and Mount Sunapee Resort.
The agreement with Lincoln Clean Energy, a subsidiary of Ørsted, is the first of its kind to be executed by a Colorado-based company as a buyer and will make Vail Resorts the first major company in the leisure and hospitality industry to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity for its North American electricity load with a VPPA. Schneider Electric Energy & Sustainability Services served as a strategic advisor to Vail Resorts on the selection of the Plum Creek project.
On a local level, Vail Resorts recently signed a contract with Xcel Energy in Colorado to support a new solar energy facility, and is sponsoring Rocky Mountain Power's request for proposal for 308,000 MWh of renewable energy, which could lead to a significant increase in the amount of solar, wind, and geothermal projects in Utah. Additionally, the company has invested $2.4 million in energy efficiency projects across its resorts over the last year, including low-energy snowmaking and energy-efficient building upgrades.
Achieving zero net emissions by 2030 is one pillar within the Company's 'Commitment to Zero' sustainability goal, announced by Vail Resorts in 2017. Another pillar is to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2030.
In naming Boulder-based Eco-Products its 'Official Zero Waste Partner,' the company is investing in sourcing sustainable guest-facing dining products at all of its restaurants across 17 North American resorts, a process that will begin this winter season. To support and accommodate this change, and make measurable progress towards zero waste in 2030, Vail Resorts is working with community partners to identify increased opportunities to recycle and compost.
"We are on a journey to re-imagine what it means to be a leader in sustainability by focusing on what's right for our communities, our mountains and our future," said Katz. "To succeed, we must rely on our individual and collective participation to ignite a passion for the great outdoors and strong communities for generations to come."